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University of Creation Spirituality
Doctor of Ministry Degree/Certificate Program

October, 2004 Intensive
October 24-29 2004

Seminar: Natural Mystics:  The Eight-Step Spiral Path - # 60076

Instructor: Judith Yost, D.Min,  Will Taegel, D.Min

Faculty Bio:  Judith completed the Doctor of Ministry program at UCS in June 2002.  She has a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Houston in Texas.  She has been a psychotherapist and counselor for 26 years. She is a faculty Field Instructor for the Graduate School of Social Work at the U. of Houston. With her spouse, Will Taegel, she founded a nature-based spiritual community called the Earth Tribe in the late 1970’s. Her work with this community is her greatest inspiration for the spiritual journey, and for her contribution to the evolution of the sacred web of life.

Dr. Will Taegel has been a practicing psychotherapist for more than 30 years.  He has published numerous professional articles and is the author of seven books, including his latest, Natural Mystics.  He has been a mentor/teacher for doctoral students at Baylor College of Medicine, The University of Texas College of Medicine, The Fielding Institute and The California Institute of Integral Studies.  He is the co-founder, with Judith, of a nature-based integral-practice spiritual community. His Native American heritage has inspired his deep commitment to the Earth and to the spiritual gifts of Nature.

Course Description:  This intensive explores the nature-based roots of the world’s great mystic and wisdom traditions.  The course will explore eight orbits of the mystical spiral revealed by Nature herself. Woven throughout the discussion will be the relevance of the four pathways of Creation Spirituality to the spiral journey. Students will have the opportunity to expand the map of their journey toward a deeper spiritual identity, particularly in the area of spiritual community.  Students should be prepared for all or most of our meetings to take place outside.

Course Objectives:

To expand the students’ knowledge of the nature-based roots of the world’s great mystical and wisdom traditions.

To provide the students an in-depth exploration of the dynamics of the Mystical Spiral of evolution as revealed by nature.

To integrate the basic teachings of creation spirituality into the map of the Eight-Step Spiral Path.

To facilitate the students in creating a beginning map of their personal journey toward a deeper spiritual identity based on the Eight-Step Spiral Path.

To teach the students practical skills in mentoring others on this path, with an aspiration toward building ongoing spiritual community.

Daily Plan:

Day 1:  Through lecture, discussion and small group experiences, this day’s presentation will cover the nature-based roots of the world’s mystical and wisdom traditions (including Animism, Taoism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam and Christianity).

Day 2:  Introduction of the Eight-Step Spiral Path as a map for the journey toward a deeper spiritual identity.  The process will include lecture, dialogue and small group experiences.

Day 3:  The integration of the basic teachings of Creation Spirituality into the Eight-Step Spiral Path. Some didactic input, but the majority of the class will consist of dialogue, discussion and experiential exercises.

Day 4:  Students will be facilitated in creating a beginning map of their personal spiritual journey using the principles of the Eight-Step Spiral Path.  The process will include discussion, small group work, and experiential experiences.

Day 5:  This day will be devoted to dialoguing about the creation, nurturing and maintaining of ongoing nature-based spiritual communities.  The class will cover the history of the Earthtribe, the “politics” of spiritual communities, the justice making and prophecy functions of these communities, and skills in mentoring others on this path with an aspiration toward building ongoing spiritual community.

Required Reading:

1.       Natural Mystics:  Dr. Will Taegel. (Available, winter 2003)

2.       Nature and Intimacy: Dr. Will Taegel, Dr. Judith Yost, Paper Tribe Press, 1996.

3.       Encounters With Nature:  Mystical and Transformational Stories:  Dr. Judith L. Yost. UCS Dissertation, 2002.

4.       One Taste:  Ken Wilber. Shambhala Books, 1999.

5.       Forgotten Truth: Huston Smith. Harper-Collins, 1976 & 1992.

Suggested Reading:

1.       Spiral Dynamics:  D. E. Beck & C. Cowan. Blackwell Pub., 1996.

2.       Integral Psychology:  Ken Wilber. Shambhala Books, 2000.

3.       The Sacred Depths of Nature:  Ursula Goodenough. Oxford Press, 1998.

4.       The Future of the Body:  Michael Murphy. Jeremy Tarcher, 1992.

5.       Dreams are Letters From the Soul:  Connie Kaplan. Harmony Books, 2002.

6.       What Really Matters:  Tony Schwartz. Bantam Books, 1995.


1.         Write a 5-8 page essay describing how the Divine Presence

has revealed itself to you through nature at various stages of your life.


2.         Discuss, in 5-8 pages, how the human disconnection from

the natural world has helped create the ecological, social and  political crises

 that face the world today.


    Focus to be given in class.

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